Future of the Fertiliser Industry
Alone in the world, NZ has a duopoly of SSP (single superphosphate) manufacturers. It is argued that SSP contains sulphur(S) as well as P. So what? You can add very efficient elemental S granules (S90) to ANY P fert, IN THE EXACT AMOUNT NEEDED.
Let's look at Ballance's SSP plant at Awarua, Bluff. It doesn't even have a sulphuric acid plant to make acid from imported sulphur, a process which at least makes some electricity to offset all the gaseous emissions of SO2 etc.
Instead, it imports 60,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid to react with 100,000t of imported manufacturing phosphate rock; mostly Boucraa phosphate, essentially stolen from the Polasarians of Western Sahara by the Moroccan-owned OCP and and flicked, 'el cheapo', on to Ballance and Ravensdown as 'receivers'; the only companies in the world that continue this very questionable business.
WHAT IS THE POINT? Why import 60,000t of concentrated acid to make a soluble P fertiliser which (i) is made largely from stolen P rock, (ii) leaches P, (iii) loses P as run-off, (iv) fails to offset acidification of our soil?
WHY, when Southland could instead be using a low-cadmium direct application reactive phosphate rock (RPR) mixed with S, which costs less, minimises P losses, and saves lime. WHY?